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Coves, Pacific Northwest

Bear Cove, Port Hardy, Coves
Bear Cove, Port Hardy, Photo By Bud Logan

The Pacific Northwest is one of the prettiest places on earth, and Vancouver Island is the jewel in the crown.

The Island’s shores are studded with Coves. These naturally beautiful areas range from very large to quite small, all are very interesting. Most of these contain some sort of estuary, where you can anchor your boat and go ashore and explore.

The beaches in these spots are often remarkable, and nearly empty of people. The forests that line them are full of wildlife, and countless species of plants and trees. Some of the world’s biggest trees are growing out of these ancient old-growth rain forests.

They generally have a narrow entrance, like Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island. They are usually semi-round and are often found as part of larger bays.

Bear Cove
Bear Cove, Photo By Bud Logan
Port Hardy’s main boat launch at the municipal wharf seems always to be busy, some boats can wait more than an hour to use the launch. It was so busy here that it was becoming dangerous with trucks and trailers lining both sides of the road, something had to be done. There was no room for expansion at the main launch, so the Bear Cove Recreation site was chosen as the spot to create a new launch area.

Bear Cove Recreation Site was redeveloped to create not one new boat launch but two of them, along with a rest area with toilets and an undercover picnic area. A new floating wharf system was also added.

Bear Cove now offers eleven 9 meter finger floats in addition to 90 meters feet of linear moorage for day use by transient users. Water and power have been brought to the new pavilion and float system with eleven taps for boaters and water service to the two fish cleaning stations and boat wash. A new pavilion provides cover for wet weather and interpretive signs teach visitors about the incredible sea life of the cove. Divers now have first dips at a dive platform that was added to give them access to the cove year round.

Bear Cove
Bear Cove, Photo By Bud Logan
This new facility has many opportunities for added tourism,  things like food outlets and whale and bear tour companies, overnight accommodations. There is room for many other types of businesses here as well. There is more interest in housing for here as well and l am sure we will see this grow alongside other developments.

This is such a pretty spot, nature all around you, it’s a great place to have a picnic.

Beaver Cove Train
Train On Its Way Into Beaver Cove, Photo By Bud Logan
Beaver Cove is a small coastal community on Northern Vancouver Island, located on the cove of the same name. It is located at the mouth of the Kokish River, just south-east of Port McNeill and 3 km up the inlet from Telegraph Cove.

It is the northern terminus of the Englewood Railway, which is named after the Wood & English Logging Company, whose former logging camp, now abandoned, was Englewood, it was located on the other side of the Cove from today’s community. Also nearby, to the north-east on the south-east shore of the Cove, is the community of Kokish.

Beaver Cove
Beaver Cove, Photo By Bud Logan
The Namgi’s people are the original inhabitants from here and still lay claim to their traditional lands that make up a large portion of the territory.

When l was a boy, we used to have to take a ferry that ran between Kelsey Bay and Beaver Cove in order to reach the north island. It was always a great trip. There was a good chance of seeing bears on the shore or orcas and sea lions in the water or other types of wildlife. There was always something of great interest to a young lad. I did enjoy those early trips up the island with my dad.

Telegraph Cove
Telegraph Cove, Photo By Bud Logan
The Johnstone Strait and Broughton Archipelago area has been occupied by the first peoples for at least 9,000 years. They have a rich cultural heritage that brings a real sense of history here.

In recent years the Europeans have created another history that may only be 150 yrs old but have had a really deep impact on the area.

The Cove’s first industry was a lumber mill and salmon saltery in the early 20th Century. It acquired its name in 1912 when the Superintendent of Telegraphs was looking for a north island community for the northern terminus of the telegraph line from Campbell River, this little Cove was perfect and became known as Telegraph Cove.

In the 1920s Alfred Marmaduke Wastell, with help from Asian laborers, built a small lumber mill and salmon saltery, the lumber business prospered and expanded. This lumber was used throughout the North Island and helped create the villages and towns.

Telegraph Cove
Telegraph Cove, Photo By Bud Logan
During the second world war, the Cove was a relay station for the Canadian Military. Many of the old buildings at Telegraph Cove are from this period of history.

For decades, Telegraph Cove remained a town built around a sawmill with the only way in or out was by Boat. In 1956 a road was built to the cove. By the mid-1970s, the lumber mill and salmon saltery were slowing down and tourists were beginning to find the cove, including sport fishermen. In 1980, Stubbs Island Whale Watching was launched, they were the first ecotourism outfit created to take people whale watching on the coast and they are still one of the best.

Today Telegraph Cove, has two resorts, two marinas, and three RV parks. There are many trails leading from the cove and its a great place to put in kayaks for heading out to the Broughton Archipelago Islands. Jacques Cousteau called the Archipelago one of the best places in the world to view and enjoy Orcas in their natural environment. I whole heartily agree.

Squirrel Cove
Squirrel Cove, Photo By Robert Logan
Cortes Island was traditionally used by the Klahoose First Nations for thousands of years before the European settlers began arriving, the Island’s resources still are very important to their cultural and economic well-being.

Squirrel Cove was one of the summer places the Klahoose have used for many years, each spring they would harvest shellfish and berries. They also planted and harvested gardens here before heading back to Toba in the Fall where they had their main village. Then in the late 1890s, they relocated from Toba Inlet to Squirrel Cove.

The first white settlers on Cortes was Michael Manson, his brother John and a friend, George Leask, all of whom preempted land in the late 1880s. At that time there were no roads, no buildings, and no steamship service to or from Cortes. When you needed to get somewhere in those days, it was by rowboat or dugout canoe.

John would delivery meat orders to logging camps, rowing to these locations, on one occasion he rowed 150 km each way to the head of Knight Inlet and back again to bring out two school girls to board at the Manson’s home, this would raise the number of available pupils to the number required to open a school on the island. These folks were true pioneers, as tough as the land around them.

Cortes Island is a large island but only the southern half is populated leaving large wilderness areas on the island. The permanent population of about 1000 is scattered sparsely with concentrations on the south end near Manson’s Landing, The Gorge, a largely protected inland waterway entered through a narrow cliff entrance, and the Whaletown and Squirrel Cove areas. It’s a great place.

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